Netflix has been around for so long that it was in existence before streaming boxes and devices. For example, the original Roku was built with Netflix in its consideration, and as platforms have been released, Netflix has ensured a top quality app complements it. If you want to keep it simple, you can watch Netflix on your browser, but it’s also available on a range of smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and more.
If you want to read one of the most in-depth Netflix reviews on the market, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve looked at the best shows on Netflix, drawn up a guide to the various plans, offered an introduction to the user interface and more. This Netflix streaming review will educate you on one of the best streaming services around.
Pros and cons
- No commercials. There’s nothing worse than watching your favourite TV show or movie and having an advert interrupt you part way through. With Netflix, you pay the monthly subscription and get immediate access to the content library.
- Downloadable content. If you’re going on a long journey or commute on public transport which doesn’t have access to WiFi, it can be handy to have a collection of your favorite films or series downloaded onto your phone.
- Various membership plans. Netflix understands that streaming isn’t ‘one size fits all’, so you can go with basic, standard or premium. If you’re on a modest budget, you can go for the basic plan. If you have a family and want to give them all access, you can stream Netflix on four screens at once with the Premium plan.
- Content library varies according to location. You may be excited to read a news article revealing your favorite show or movie is now available on Netflix, only to discover it’s available for subscribers living in a different part of the world.
- Rotating content. Because licensing deals expire, people run the risk of getting into a TV series or bookmarking a movie to watch later, then being disappointed to find that it’s been removed from the content library.
- Data cap. If you don’t have unlimited data on your mobile phone or tablet while you’re using Netflix, you may find that the streaming service uses it all up rapidly.
Types of content available
You can view a vast library of content on Netflix. These are split into movies and TV shows.
To view the TV shows available on Netflix, navigate to the Series tab on the menu bar. There’s a whole host of genres you can choose from: action & adventure, anime, British, classic & cult, comedies, crime, docuseries, drama, horror, international, K-drama, kid-friendly, LGBT, mysteries, reality, romance, sci-fi & fantasy, science & nature, Spanish-language, stand-up & chat shows, teen shows, thrillers and more.
You can view TV shows which are popular on Netflix, or pick up where you left off with shows you’re already partway through. Alternatively, you can look at what’s trending now, or see which shows you’ve bookmarked on My List to watch later. Additional sub-menus include award-winning TV programs, Netflix Originals, women who rule the screen, top picks for you and more.
If you want to settle in for a night of movies, Netflix is a great selection. There’s such a huge range of options, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Navigate to the Films tab on the menu bar, and pick a genre. Alternatively, enter a title or actor into the search bar if you’re looking for something specific. Genres available for movies include: action, anime, comedies, crime, documentaries, family features, musicals, rom-coms, sci-fi and sports.
You can continue watching movies you haven’t finished yet, see what’s trending now or what you’ve earmarked to view at a later date. Alternatively, more sub menus on your screen could include crime dramas, hidden gems, romantic independent films and critically-acclaimed films.
Top Netflix TV shows and movies
Stranger Things – Set in a small Indiana town in 1983, this series begins with Joyce Byers’ son, Will, going missing. A terrifying investigation is launched into his disappearance, and this leads to the discovery of secret government experiments, supernatural creatures and an incredibly unusual girl.
Black Mirror – This unique TV show features dramas which are completely stand-alone and discuss paranoia about technology and a collective unease about the world as it exists today.
The Crown – This popular royal drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, starting from when she was a princess and moving through her journey to become the British monarch with husband Prince Philip at her side. The cast includes Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies.
The Irishman – Set in the 1950s, this movie sees truck driver Frank Sheeran get involved in crime as a hitman with Russell Bufalino and his crime family based in Pennsylvania. He gets more and more entangled, going to work for the powerful Jimmy Hoffa.
Grace and Frankie – After spending a lot of time as rivals, Grace and Frankie have their worlds turned upside down when they find out their husbands are in love with each other. Instead of continuing to compete against one another, the two ladies learn to rely on each other instead.
Lucifer – Feeling bored in his role as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer goes against his father (God) by giving up his throne and going to Los Angeles. While there, he runs a nightclub called Lux and gets tangled up in a murder case with Detective Chloe Decker.
Making A Murderer – Steven Avery spent nearly two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and filed suit against Manitowoc County, along with several people who were involved in his arrest. However, he found himself behind bars again shortly after, accused of another murder. Columbia graduate students read Avery’s story and took it on as a documentary.
Orange Is The New Black – Piper Chapman’s past suddenly comes back to haunt her when she is sentenced to time in a women’s prison in Connecticut for associating with a drug runner 10 years previously.
Jessica Jones – This series explores the life of Jessica Jones, one of the darker characters from the Marvel franchise.
The Ranch – Colt, played by Ashton Kutcher, goes home to his family’s ranch in Colorado after the failure of his football career. His plans to run the family business alongside his father prove more difficult than expected, and he also finds himself torn between two women.
Mindhunter – FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench work to understand serial killers by understanding what goes on in their heads. The two agents are at the top of their game by developing the profiling of modern serial killers.
XOXO – Six strangers experience their lives colliding together during a night featuring romance and chasing dreams when a young DJ is presented with the opportunity to perform at a festival.
The Fundamentals of Caregiving – After experiencing a personal tragedy, a writer retires and becomes a caregiver for a disabled teenager. When they go on a road trip, their coping abilities are put to the test.
TAU – A woman is trapped inside a hacker’s house and subjected to his experiments. She tries to hack the computer program running the house in order to escape.
Bird Box – A mysterious force is wiping out the population, and the only thing people know is that if you see it, you die. Survivors have to avoid facing this force, which takes the shape of their worst fears.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle – A human child is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. He learns the rules of the jungle from a bear named Baloo and a panther called Bagheera. But he soon stumbles across his human origins, plus a formidable enemy.
When you first load up Netflix, you will be asked which profile you want to use. This is where you will have access to multiple screens if you are on the premium plan.
Once you are through to the main page, you will have a bar at the top next to the Netflix logo where you can navigate to series, films, recently added titles or your list. The My List feature allows you to bookmark content for future viewing.
When you click through to the series and films pages, there will be a drop down menu at the top where you can choose the genre you want a selection to come from. There are also rows of titles on offer, based on sub sections such as your list, a Continue Watching bar, recommendations based on recent titles you’ve watched, trending titles and more.
When you click on an individual title, you will be able to see a whole host of information. Below the title will be a percentage match based on how well it fits in with your viewing habits, so you’ll know if you’re likely to enjoy it. There is also the release date, the motion picture content rating, a short summary of the title, a fact about it, the genres it fits into, the main cast and a thumbs up or down icon. You can also add it to your list, or simply press play.
How to watch
People watch Netflix on a range of devices. You may wish to use this streaming service on your tablet or smart TV, in which case there will most likely be the option to download the Netflix app. If your TV doesn’t have the app, you can purchase a streaming device to act as the middleman. Alternatively, you can simply use your laptop or desktop, or even your video game console.
Streaming devices compatible with Netflix include Android TV, Nvidia Shield, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and Fire TV. Netflix can be browsed using the video game consoles PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS Vita, Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.
Compatible mobile devices include Android, iOS – that is, iPhones and iPads – and Windows phones. Finally, if you want to use a smart TV or Blu-Ray player, virtually every brand is compatible, including Sony, Sharp, LG and Samsung. If you want to double check before buying a device, check out the Netflix site for a comprehensive list.
What setup do I need?
To stream Netflix titles on your chosen device, you will need an internet connection with at least 0.5 megabits per second. The recommended speed is 1.5 megabits, and if you want SD quality you will need 3.0 megabits. If you want to make the most of HD quality streams with the premium plan, 5.0 megabits per second will be the most effective, while 25 megabits is what you’ll need to achieve ultra HD quality.
If you upgrade your plan to premium and want to watch your favorite shows and movies in HD, you will need to change your video quality to either auto or high. Once this setting is activated, titles will play in HD with connections of 5.0 megabits per second or more.
Be aware that higher quality streams will use more bandwidth, so if you don’t have access to unlimited data as part of your broadband setup, it’s recommended that you manage your bandwidth usage by setting the video quality to low or medium. This way, you won’t use up data as quickly.
How to cancel Netflix
- Sign into your Netflix account.
- Click on the arrow located next to your profile name.
- Select Account and navigate to this section.
- Navigate to Membership and billing, then click on the Cancel membership box.
- Click on Finish cancellation to complete the process.
There are three subscription plans available with Netflix. These are:
Basic ($8.99 a month) – Watch on one screen, whether it’s your laptop, TV or tablet. Enjoy unlimited films and TV programs, cancel at any time and enjoy the first month free.
Standard ($12.99 a month) – All the features from the basic membership, plus the ability to stream on two screens at once. Also, enjoy content in HD.
Premium ($15.99 a month) – All the features from the basic and standard memberships, including the ability to stream on four screens at once. Plus, enjoy content in ultra HD.
The content catalog will remain the same for each of these plans. Instead of offering different sections of titles to stream, the difference with each tier is the resolution it offers. For example, the premium plan will let users stream material which offers 4k ultra HD.
The resolution isn’t the only variable with these pricing tiers, though. With a more expensive plan comes the option to expand the number of people who can have profiles on a single account. For example, you can have four people using the same login with their own customised Netflix homepage. Furthermore, streaming can take place simultaneously on these different profiles, at any time and from any geographical location.
Those who were with Netflix at the start will know the service began as a DVD rental service, where these were sent out in the mail. While the on-demand streaming service we know so well became available in 2010, many don’t know that the rental service is actually still available. Plans vary depending on the number of discs you want to take out per month. All you have to do is navigate to dvd.netflix.com to get started (US customers only).
Trials and subscription options
A 30 day free trial is available for all new subscribers, so you can try out the content library without paying anything. You can also cancel your membership before this period has expired, and you won’t be charged.
The main benefit of streaming services like Netflix is the fact this is a monthly subscription which can be cancelled whenever you want. All you have to do is go to your account settings and select the Cancel Membership button.
If there isn’t an option to cancel your account on this page, this may mean you need to go through the relevant billing company which provides your Netflix subscription in order to cancel it. In most cases, you will see a link to go to this company and complete the cancellation process. Alternatively, there will be instructions on the page on how to contact them.
If you choose to cancel your Netflix account early, your subscription will remain valid until the date it would be due to renew. This means you can keep watching Netflix titles until this time. You can find out when your account will close, or when your next payment is due, by going to the Billing Details section of your Account page.
For those who have had their Netflix account closed for a number of months but wish to rejoin the service, it’s useful to know that viewing activity, recommendations, ratings and account details will be kept for 10 months. So if you return within this timeframe, you will be able to resume your streaming from the same point.
As the streaming services industry is so competitive, there were always going to be other providers which would be set up with the aim of dethroning Netflix. For example, services like Hulu, HBO Now and Amazon Prime TV all offer a comprehensive range of content with attractive price plans.
More recently, Netflix has seen competition from new streaming services Disney+ and Apple TV+. Disney+ in particular has launched to overwhelming demand, with its first market – the US – eagerly lapping up popular content such as The Mandalorian and the Marvel’s Hero Project. In its Q3 statement for 2019, Netflix acknowledged the influx of new streaming services, which also include HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock. However, they made it clear that they had predicted the competition for some time. The streamer has made efforts to expand its global offering and invest further in popular original titles, which is one of its main strengths in recent years.
What we liked about Netflix
The well-established brand presence of Netflix is the main appeal here. There are few people who haven’t heard of Netflix, and particularly in terms of global appeal, this streaming service has options and exclusive original content aimed at particular locations. Some of the original titles, such as Stranger Things, are now cult classics, and we believe Netflix is capable of pumping out even more popular content as time goes on.
What we disliked about Netflix
With the introduction of new streaming services, there are now big companies eyeing up licensed titles the platform has and snapping them once the deals expire. With ever-expanding budget allowances from other companies, Netflix is finding it harder to hold on to its most valuable titles, and this will start to show in coming years. There is little to dislike about Netflix, but the geographical restrictions can be frustrating.
Is Netflix worth it?
Netflix is the original streaming services provider, with a range of movies and TV shows available for people to enjoy. With over a decade of experience, this platform just keeps on growing, with a rapidly expanding collection of original content and new genres such as anime being constantly invested in to appeal to a wider audience. It’s clear this content giant isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and people will always associate the word Netflix with relaxing in front of the TV.
How to sign up to Netflix
- Navigate to the Netflix website in a web browser.
- Click on the button which says ‘Join Free for a Month’.
- Click on ‘See the Plans’ to view the available choices.
- Decide on the streaming plan which best suits your needs, then click Continue.
- Create a new account by entering your personal information.
- Select a payment option and enter your details.
- Your Netflix membership can now begin.